India ranked ‘worst’ G-20 country for women

NEW DELHI — India is ranked as the worst country for women among the G-20 nations in a new poll by the Thomson Reuters Foundation. India’s women are discriminated against, abused and even killed on a scale unparalleled in the top 19 economies of the world, according to the poll.

By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 14 Jun 2012, 11:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:44 AM

The survey, polling 370 gender specialists, found Canada to be the best place to be a woman amongst G-20 nations, excluding the European Union economic grouping. “It’s a miracle a woman survives in India. Even before she is born, she is at risk of being aborted due to our obsession for sons,” said Shemeer Padinzjharedil, who runs, a website which maps and documents crimes against women.

“As a child, she faces abuse, rape and early marriage and even when she marries, she is killed for dowry. If she survives all of this, as a widow she is discriminated against and given no rights over inheritance or property.”

Many of the crimes against women are in India’s heavily populated northern plains, where, in parts, there is a deep-rooted mindset that women are inferior and must be restricted to being homemakers and childbearers. In addition, age-old customs such as payment of hefty dowries at the time of marriage have made girls seem a burden.

The poll results — based on parameters such as quality of health services, threat of physical and sexual violence, level of political voice, and access to property and land rights — jars with the modern-day image of India.

India had a female prime minister, or head of government, as long ago as 1966. Well-dressed women in Western attire driving scooters or cars to work is now an everyday sight in cities. Women doctors, lawyers, police officers and bureaucrats are common.

But scratch under the surface and the threats in the country are manifold — from female foeticide, child marriage, dowry and honour killings to discrimination in health and education and crimes such as rape, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Indeed, a girl’s fight for survival begins in the womb due to an overwhelming desire for sons and fear of dowry, which has resulted in 12 million girls being aborted over the last three decades, according to a 2011 study by The Lancet.

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